Home » Life in France »
Eclair au café
Coffee Eclairs 101
First of all, you will need to get your hands on some disposable piping bags and an approximately 1½ cm round piping nozzle. If you want to wing it, a plastic bag where you cut one corner sounds like it would do the job too.
Ingredients for the choux pastry:
- 170g butter (lightly salted) which you will need to chop into small cubes ( beurre demi-sel)
- 200g plain flour (farine de blé)
- 5 medium eggs, beaten (oeufs)
Ingredients for the coffee crème pâtissière:
- 250ml of whole milk (lait)
- 2 egg yolks
- 20ml of espresso
- 1/4 vanilla pod, seeds only or ¼ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 40g of caster sugar (sucre en poudre)
- 20g of plain flour
Decoration – arguably the best part
- 200 g melted chocolate to spread on top
- sprinkles of choice!
Step 1: The beating of the choux
- Put 450 ml of water into a saucepan and add the cubed butter. Add the 20g flour into a large bowl using a sieve, then set aside. Bring the butter-water mixture to a fast boil, let it simmer until the butter has melted, then carefully tip in the flour. Now for the fun part: You can let your inner madman (or madwoman or, indeed, madperson) run free because you will need to grab a wooden spoon and beat this mixture to death (basically mix with a lot of force so it binds together). If it is not physically extremely strenuous, you’re doing it wrong. The mixture should pull away from the sides of the pan and be lump-free. Then, tip it into the bowl. You can spread the thick paste up the sides a little bit so it cools faster and then you want to let the choux rest for 10 min – a necessary break from this intense first encounter.
Step 2: Measuring fun
- Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas mark 6 and cut two pieces of parchment paper to put on two baking sheets. You now want to grab a ruler and a pen and practise your drawing skills: draw 10 lines each approx. 12cm long on each piece, leaving plenty of space between them, then flip the parchment over but make sure you can still see them! Next, grab your piping (or plastic) bag and the nozzle if you have one.
Step 3: Eggcellent baking
- By now your flour concoction should have cooled down (but should not be cold!). The time has come to start adding the egg, slowly and bit by bit. Don’t forget to beat well between each egg that you add. In the end, your batter should be as smooth as a baby’s bum – it should drop off your spoon, but only very reluctantly. Psst, you potentially do not need to use all of your egg, so add it slowly and with caution. Then, transfer the mixture to your piping bag of choice. Extra tip: you can use a little bit of the mixture to stick the parchment to your trays should it not cooperate.
STEP 4: PIPE, PIPE, PIPE!
- Pipe your choux onto the baking sheet whilst using your lines to guide you. You want to pipe slowly so your eclairs don’t turn out too skinny – if you want to do the maths, each should be ca. 2.5cm wide and 12cm long. Now put those babies into your preheated oven! You wanna bake them for 35-40 mins. For the final 10 mins, you also should swap the trays around. Now your choux should be all puffed, golden and ready – to test it, tap it carefully – if they sound hollow, they’re done! One brave eclair might sacrifice itself so you can test that the inside is also completely dried out, because if it’s still moist, the eclair will sink when cooling, and that would truly be a tragedy. If they’re done, they need to be left to cool completely. You could even make these a day ahead and store them in some airtight Tupperware overnight. All you need to do is reheat them in the oven for 5-10 min before filling.
STEP 5: MAKING THE CREAMY GOODNESS
- To make the creme pat, you want to combine the milk and vanilla seeds or extract in a small pan, then gently bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, remove the milk from the heat and pass it through a sieve into a clean pan to avoid lumps forming.
- Then, in a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until they become airy and creamy. Next, gently sift the flour into the bowl and fold it into the egg mixture. You want to do this by starting at the bottom of the bowl and gently fold it (no beating here!) until everything is combined.
- Now, don’t burn your fingers as you gradually pour the hot milk into the mixture. Stir it well to combine everything, then transfer the whole mixture back into the milk pan. Place it over low heat and stir continuously, allowing it to thicken gently for approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove your pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl to let it cool. Stir it occasionally so no lumps form. Once it is cool, put cling film onto the bowl and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to fill – or get to it straight away!
FILLING THOSE BABIES
- Make two small holes on the bottom of the pastry shell with a parring knife and then fill a piping or plastic bag with a small round tip with the coffee cream patissière. Pipe the cream into each hole until it surges back out. Wipe off any excess cream to make them look extra pretty!
- Melt the chocolate and a steamy hot water bath whilst stirring it continously. Remove from heat, then flip your eclairs over (oh lala) and dip the top side into the chocolate. Sprinkle on anything that your heart desires, just make sure the chocolate is still sticky!
Et voilà! We hope you enjoy our recipe of the month. Please do share your attempts to our instagram with the hashtag #babylangues! We would love to see them.